ARWIND Santos hopes the new round of personnel changes within the San Miguel franchise will finally bear fruit in the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-4 Santos and the rest of the Beermen welcomed the arrival of new teammates Solomon Mercado and Rico Maierhofer during their Wednesday morning practice at the Reyes gym.
They Said It!
“...ang question na lang is hanggang kailan or hanggang sa dulo makaka-pukpok ba kami?" San Miguel forward Arwind Santos
Just like the rest, Santos is keeping his fingers crossed the Beermen’s two new acquisitions could contribute right away to a team that has underachieved for the last two-and-a-half seasons despite a star-studded core.
“I know how Sol plays. Saka si Rico din alam ko paano maglaro since UAAP days pa nakakalaban na natin siya sa La Salle. Pero siguro sa ngayon lang, ang question na lang is hanggang kailan or hanggang sa dulo makaka-pukpok ba kami? Sana mas mapaganda ang trade,” Santos shared to Spin.ph.
Mercado and Maierhofer were part of the complex, seven-player, four-team trade that was approved on Tuesday by the league commissioner Chito Salud.
The shifty Mercado was traded by Globalport to San Miguel in exchange for veteran guard Alex Cabagnot, while Maierhofer landed at the Beermen’s lap after swapping places with Jason Deutchman. San Miguel also gave up its 2016 and 2017 second round picks to acquire the rights of Maierhofer from Barako Bull.
Santos also said the recent coaching transition of the team is another issue the Beermen will have to deal with this season.
Biboy Ravanes has just been tapped as San Miguel coach in liue of Gee Abanilla, who was promoted to team manager. American consultant Todd Purves is also given a more active role in handling the team.
But the reigning league MVP was quick to add he had no say on the changes, reiterating management is simply trying to find the right formula for the flagship team of San Miguel Corp.
“Para sa akin, di ko tinitingnan kung ano ang mangyayari or nangyayari sa team. Wala naman akong control (on trading of players) dun," said Santos, who, according to rumors, has not always seen eye to eye with Cabagnot.
"Iyung trade eh desisyon naman ng management at kung ano man ang mga isyung ginagawa ng ibang tao sa team, eh wala na kaming magagawa diyan,” he added.
As the Beermen await the arrival of their import - possibly former Boston Celtic forward DJ white - Santos said the team is now trying to work back into game shape with still about three weeks to go before the opening of the import-laden conference.
“Siyempre, as a player, wala ka namang ibang hangarin kundi manalo. Sa team, kailangan lang maging consistent kami. Saka importanteng mag-jell kami,” said Santos, who averaged 17.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in the Philippine Cup.
The high-leaping Santos is also shooting for a third Best Player of the Conference award as he finished a strong second in statistical points behind teammate June Mar Fajardo at the end of the All-Filipino Cup semifinals.